America’s national parks are wonderous to visit, but they are not known for being in areas of culinary greatness. Nonetheless, I chose which area to travel (Bryce vs. Arches/Canyonlands) based solely on where I thought we would have a better anniversary meal. No, I am not joking. After much internet surfing, we settled on Moab, largely because it is an actual town with several dining options.
My mission was simple: find the best restaurant possible. After all, we were celebrating our nineteenth wedding anniversary and hanging out with our friends. Not to mention the fact that we would have hiked all day and deserved an indulgent meal. I selected Desert Bistro for dinner and remained optimistic that the quality would stand up to the hefty price tag. Living in a resort town, I am no stranger to restaurants that overcharge and underdeliver, but fortunately, that was not the case at Desert Bistro.
I was forced to decide whether we would dine indoors or out upon making the reservation. Reluctantly, I decided on outdoors and worried that it would be too chilly for this Floridian. It was a beautiful, balmy, not-at-all-humid evening.
Several years ago, a dinner guest came to our house bearing a bottle of 1997 Chateau Montelena. He had heard that we were married in 1997, and thought it would be a sweet treat. Indeed. We pulled it out and brought the well-traveled (California to Toronto to Florida to Utah) bottle specifically for this dinner. (We also picked up a bottle of non-vintage Roger Coulon Champagne for the occasion.)
The food and service at Desert Bistro were both excellent. Our group enjoyed fresh fish flown in from Hawaii, meats, salads and pasta. I started with the seared tuna appetizer, which was outstanding, and likely the best dish I had all week. Fresh tuna, coated in sesame seeds and expertly seared, served with a sticky rice dumpling. I also enjoyed the gorgonzola topped filet, which was outstanding and cooked to a perfect medium-rare. Other foods at the table included Southwestern Cesar salad, gorgonzola salad, mushroom pasta and rack of lamb. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed. (I was already looking forward to the next day’s hikes to work off a little bit of dinner.)
The next day, after a full day of hiking and outdoorsy-ness, I asked our friend’s 11-year-old what type of food he would like for dinner. He picked the cuisine; we picked the place and opted for Miguel’s Baja Grill. A super casual evening of tacos and burritos seemed like an excellent idea.
We started with margaritas, an order of homemade guacamole and a poblano pepper quesadilla. We enjoyed each item in the cozy garden-like ambiance. For our main courses, we ordered a lot of fish: FKGuy enjoyed mahi al ajillo with garlic and peppers, while I had a half-size burrito (still huge) filled with fish. Our friends enjoyed fish tacos and a fish-topped salad. That is a lot of previously frozen fish, although it was well-prepared and tasty. Not to worry, Miguel’s also has chicken, shrimp, beef and pork on the menu, in addition to many vegetarian options.
Desert Bistro is located at 36 South 100 West in Moab, Utah, and is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday nights. Reservations are a must, as they only have twelve tables. Miguel’s Baja Grill is located at 51 North Main Street in Moab, Utah, and is open for dinner daily.